Do Greyhounds make good pets?

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Victoria
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Do Greyhounds make good pets?

Post by Victoria » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:42 am

There is an article written by Emma Milne in the May issue of Dogs Today about Greyhounds. I will post it on here soon or you can get the magazine and let me know what you think? I have already drafted my response.

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Post by emmabeth » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

I will see if shop have a copy yet... probably not yet though..

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:15 am

Someone sent me a copy of the article Victoria, it is a knee jerk reaction to something that happened, very unprofessional. If we can't control ourselves how do we expect children and dogs to. I do feel for the owners of the dog though, I know how I felt when 2 Weimaraners attached Joe from behind and left him terrified of strange dogs.

I have an ex racing Greyhound, born and raced in Northern Ireland and he is a wonderful pet dog, very gentle with all my other dogs and any he meets outside. He is a dog and like all dogs will chase and catch anything that runs but my JRT/Whippet is worse than he is, in fact it was this dog that taught Merlin my Greyhound that cats are for chasing :roll: Don't give them the chance if I can.

Merlin was very popular when hubby was in hospital, I used to take him in and had problems getting to my hubby, everyone wanted to stroke Merlin. He was very good at this, very patient and was big enough to lean over for the patients to stroke. He loved it.

This is a picture of Merlin and Gracie, Gracie is a Staffy/Cairn Terrier and only 10 ins high. I have this picture on his pedigree on the Greyhound Database.

Image
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

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Post by emmabeth » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:32 am

Before I start.... my views do not necessarily reflect the views of the owner/hosts of this board...

I do think greyhounds make good pets - for the right people.

Those owners understand that their dog has seen little of life, may well NOT be aware immediately that dogs come in every shape and size imaginable, and that there are some very small fluffy rabbit like dogs just as there are some giant hairy donkey like dogs.

The owners job is to teach a greyhound about life, including socialising them with all sizes of dog, and cat, and where this does not result in a dog safe around these species, keeping the dog on a lead.

I definately think Emma Milne ought to have gone away and thought about that article rather than reacting immediately. Unfortunately she didnt, and I have to say, leaping to rather ill considered and somewhat irrational conclusions does appear to be her forte.

The tragic case she describes in her article is awful, but was caused directly by human error, not because 'greyhounds are evil'. Many times human error has lead to Ms Milnes own breed the Collie, wreaking mass destruction amongst sheep, they are THE singular worst breed for stock worrying ... when in the wrong hands.

EVERY breed of dog is capable of killing something, as dog owners we do need to remain aware of that. All types of dog have their own strengths and weaknesses, some are fast, some are slow, some will follow a scent to the ends of the earth, others will scan the horizon for quarry, some do their owners bidding without question, and others want to know 'whats in it for me'.

Wiping out any breed will not solve the problem, we have been down this route before, recently with bullbreeds, historically ownership of sighthounds has been limited to just nobility.. and where did that get us?

Ban a breed and for HUNDREDS of years, man will find a way round that ban. The restriction of ownership of sighthounds saw the creation of the Lurcher, another fantastic pet (ok ive got two, i am biased), but a dog, like any other - great with the right owner, and a bloody liability with the wrong one.

What is needed here is not the banning or eradication of certain breeds of dog.

It is the understanding that a dog is NOT a right, you have to have the right dog FOR YOU, and if you are not willing to take into account a dogs needs and desires, that running dogs run, herding dogs herd, earth dogs go to earth... don't own that breed.

Too many people own a breed despite that breeds traits, not because of them.

For greyhounds, the one thing I do object to is the portrayal of them as 'super easy pets'. They may well be that for me, I understand the sighthound brain, I am used to reading the landscape and knowing where potential quarry may pop up from, which corner a Shi Tzu might pop round, how many seconds I have between the dogs ears saying 'seen it' and his brain saying 'chasing it'.

For other people those skills do not come so easy, or at all. They will never 'read' a dog like that, for them the needy Collie who always wants the owners input before making a decision to do something may fit the bill better.

Unfortunately a lot of people, and some who really ought know better, push greyhounds onto people, making them out to be easier than any other dog, needing less input, less exercise, less training. THAT simply isnt the truth - like any other dog, they need work, time, effort and understanding. Ok so they are likely to be quiet, and they are likely to be easy to housetrain - but they will need more effort put into recall, you'll be unlikely to teach one to sit.

It all balances out, what a greyhound needs putting in, a rescued collie might not. What the collie needs the greyhound probably doesnt. There is no 'super easy' breed of dog.... the ideal for someone who cant be bothered. It doesnt exist.

I realise that this image of the greyhound has come about from peoples desperation to save as many as possible, but it does the dog herself, no favours.

Greyhounds are not alone in being let down by their owners though - just HOW many 'bigger dog injures smaller dog' incidents actually occur because tiny dog owners think it is HILARIOUS that their snack sized pet is brave enough to take on a giant dog?

I cannot count the times I have had to remove a small snappy fluffy little thing from a larger dogs neck, because its owners are too busy laughing and saying 'aww isnt Fluffy brave'.
Its a very very different story when the patient big dog finally loses it and grabs the smaller one, one quick shake and its all over for Fluffy.

No one ever really hears about THOSE incidents in the press though, because what possible harm could a Yorkie or Shih Tzu or a Papillon or..... do?

What it boils down to is this - we all have a duty to train our dogs and keep them safe. WE humans have engineered dogs appearances and natures to make them a species unique in their diversity. If you own a dog who through his breeding and upbringing cannot at a distance tell a Lhasa Apso from a rabbit, it is YOUR duty to keep your dog secured away from it, or teach it otherwise.

If you own a breed who through breeding and hair care resembles a rabbit, it is YOUR duty not to allow it to hurtle up to other dogs, swearing and cursing at them for being bigger.

And if you want a dog - get the right breed for you, not the one that is the latest fashion statement, not the one with the fancy hair, the one whose needs match closely to what you can provide.

And if you think 'sod off ill get what dog i like'.. then can i recommend a goldfish!

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:55 am

Me thinks that post should be in the next Dogs Today Em. :lol:
The tragic case she describes in her article is awful, but was caused directly by human error, not because 'greyhounds are evil'. Many times human error has lead to Ms Milnes own breed the Collie, wreaking mass destruction amongst sheep, they are THE singular worst breed for stock worrying ... when in the wrong hands.
Collies also are very high on the list of dog breeds that bite, Greyhounds are not.

The 2 Weimaraners that attacked Joe also attacked other dogs, many ending up in the vets serious hurt but the owners denied it was them even though they watched them do it.
Unfortunately a lot of people, and some who really ought know better, push greyhounds onto people, making them out to be easier than any other dog, needing less input, less exercise, less training.
I was told this before I took Merlin on, compared to some dogs he was easy, but in other things he was very hard, especially when he threatened me several times when resource guarding. I have been laughed at many times on how I stopped this, but it worked :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

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Post by thistledown » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:16 pm

Way to go emmabeth! You are magnificent when you are angry!

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Post by Ocelot0411 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:11 pm

Wow, go Em.

Greyhounds aren't a breed I know a lot about, in fact sighthounds in general are unknown territority to me, but then I don't own them so I guess that's allowed :wink:

I would like to make two general comments though. Firstly, I was very much under the impression that greyhound's were easy to deal with in comparision to a lot of other breeds of dogs, so this clearly has been portrayed in the madia. I had no concept and never really thought about the issues you have just mentioned Em, but then again as I say, not a breed I have ever really looked in to.

Secondly, I think the banning of any breed is downright ridiculous. In my view there is no such thing as a 'bad' breed of dog, just owners who aren't responsible or as Em says don't know enough about the breed before they get them.

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Post by emmabeth » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:30 pm

Beverley is more than welcome to publish that post, or if she likes I can edit it into an article instead.

Em

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Post by Maxy24 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:31 pm

I think they make great pets or as good a pet as any dog. They are not as high energy as some dogs or as people adoring as some dogs (Labs, Goldens, Pit Bulls etc. are usually first to greet the new visitors with a happy wagging tail, Greys are more aloof) and if they get a good run in a fenced in yard every day they should be good (this is for retired racers at least, I've been told pups are super high energy), they don't need long walks really, an off leash run is more their style. Do they need exercise? OF COURSE but they do not take as much time to exercise and may be better for the lazier person who can let them run without having to exercise with them (such as when you go for a walk). Then again, if you do not allow off leash runs in a fenced area you will have to do walks that are as long as the average large breed dog's walk anyway. They have an easy to care for coat and are gentle with people. Of course they are bad with small animals, but so are almost all sight hounds and terriers, people who think they are "bad" breeds or pets because of prey drive or animal aggression are not very accepting of dogs, so many are bad with small animals. We have a racing greyhound rescue in my town and my Aunt owned one who she LOVED and who was awesome with her kid, Kristen. I know several people on other forums who own them and love them, one owns a cat with her Greyhound and Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog with no problems, another has two that are not good with cats. My brother's friend grew up with his Grey, great with children. They are sensitive and often shy though, they do not adapt the best to new situations, of course socialization is key but it is still in their temperament to be more sensitive than other non-sighthound breeds.

I like them, every breed will not fit with every person. Some people need active dogs, some need dogs who accept strangers into the house no problem, some need them to be good with cats or other dogs. People who have trouble are people who don't know anything about the dog they are getting as both a breed an individual. There is no reason they would be a "bad" pet any more than any other breed. They can be bad pets for people they are not right for, just like a Lab or Dalmatian would be bad for a lazy person, a Fila would be bad for a person who runs a business from her home that requires clients to come over every day or a Pug would be bad for a person who wants to go running everyday in 80 degree weather.

I like them, won't own one since I don't want aloof dogs, I like Pitties and Boxers myself, but would never say they are bad pets because so long as they are paired with the correct person they are great pets, same with any other dog.

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Post by Mattie » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:21 pm

I think they make great pets or as good a pet as any dog. They are not as high energy as some dogs or as people adoring as some dogs (Labs, Goldens, Pit Bulls etc. are usually first to greet the new visitors with a happy wagging tail, Greys are more aloof)
I agree they can be aloof but my ex racer is usually the first to greet me when I go in and also first to greet any visitors and he always has a happy waggy tail.
if they get a good run in a fenced in yard every day they should be good (this is for retired racers at least, I've been told pups are super high energy), they don't need long walks really, an off leash run is more their style. Do they need exercise? OF COURSE but they do not take as much time to exercise and may be better for the lazier person who can let them run without having to exercise with them (such as when you go for a walk). Then again, if you do not allow off leash runs in a fenced area you will have to do walks that are as long as the average large breed dog's walk anyway
I think Maxy your idea of a fenced yard is different to the UK, few people have a garden big enough to exercise a Greyhound. Yes they need to run off lead, but not every day. They also need walking, although sprinters and don't need a lot of exercise, if built up slowly they can go all day. Greyhounds are not for laxy owners, they should not have a dog, Greyhounds need exercise the same as other breeds.
I like them, won't own one since I don't want aloof dogs, I like Pitties and Boxers myself, but would never say they are bad pets because so long as they are paired with the correct person they are great pets, same with any other dog.
You may be surprised, they may look aloof but they can be clowns as well. Some of the things mine has done, most dogs wouldn't be able to think them out. He had a buster collar on and when I was cooking meat in a George Forman Grill, he put the buster collar under the grill to catch the drips and was licking them as they dropped. Another time he managed to open a cupboard door, take out a bottle of salmon oil tablets, take off the screw top and eat the capsuls. :lol:

They may be quiet but they are also sneaky. :wink:
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Post by thistledown » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:32 pm

I have read the article now and I have to say that it is a long time since I was as angry as this.

One thing in particular stands out from the whole article. She compares Greys to TB racehorses but says that the racehorse does not share the 'murderous instincts' of the greyhound.

Sighthounds are blessed with prey drive, and I mean 'blessed', not cursed. Prey drive may be inconvenient for the owner, but it is what makes the sighthound such a beautiful animal. It should be celebrated along with their physical beauty. A sighthound will mentally and physically literally give everything it has in response to the imperative of the prey drive and for thousands of years we have recognised this and held up the greyhound as the epitome of grace and function.

How a vet could confuse prey drive with aggression is beyond me. But she goes even further and equates it with a 'murderous instinct' which, far from being the language of a professional, is tabloid hysteria at its worst.

I am absolutely cold with anger even just from that one sentence.

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Post by Victoria » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:15 pm

While I sympathize and understand Emma Milne’s distress having dealt with what was a horrendous attack, I believe the article ‘Dog eat Dog,’ in the May issue of Dogs Today, questioning the breeding and rehoming of Greyhounds, is an emotional, knee jerk reaction to what was obviously a distressing situation. Like Emma, I am not a fan of the concept or practice of Greyhound racing, primarily because of the well-known abuses and suffering inflicted upon dogs whose ‘useful’ racing days are over. In a perfect world for me, there would be no such thing as Greyhound racing. That is not to say, however, that I wish there were no such thing as Greyhounds. In fact, I have long had a soft spot for the breed, and have not been made aware of anything other than anecdotal evidence to support the premise that Greyhounds are more prolific killers of other pets, yet this seems to be central to Emma’s argument. Many breeds of dog have been bred to chase, hunt, guard and herd and all owners need to be aware of breed capabilities while at the same time understanding that every dog is an individual regardless of breed. I have worked in rescue for many years and care has to be taken when rehoming any breed of dog into a new household – that is the responsibility for all shelters and all breeders. While it is true that Sighthounds have been bred to chase small creatures, each dog should be evaluated separately. Some Greyhounds are unable to live with other animals, but many do very well in multi dog and cat households. Even if the charges against Greyhounds were proven true statistically and scientifically, which I doubt, I would answer those calling for extinction the same way I answer those calling for the eradication of the large bull breeds, Rottweilers and other so-called ‘Dangerous Dogs.’ Responsible ownership! I remain steadfastly against singling out the deeds of certain dogs and punishing their entire breed accordingly.

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Post by Jessie » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:20 am

Before I can assess anything, I need access to it. Is there a place I can read it online that anyone knows about? I'm over here *waves at the gigantic ocean* and you're over there *points to the other side*.

However, Maxy24, you're very correct on the lazy Pug thing. Ours sleeps about 20 hours a day, even at the height of puppyhood. She'd play hard and then be like "Okay, over it. Nap time!" Now she just looks at you like if you wanna go chase something, then go do it yourself and let her know how it ends.

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Post by thistledown » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:28 am

I don't know if I'm allowed to post a direct link to another forum, but if you Google the following:

Dogpages "Help for Greyhounds"

you will see that in post 27 someone has scanned the article.

You don't need to be registered to look at the site.

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Post by Jessie » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:14 am

Thank you! I was trying to look it up on Google, but I didn't quite have the proper information to get more than a bunch of scattered info.

*goes off to read it*

Oh my word. That's depressing. Not the article - well, that too - but the fact she's saying this in an open forum without any clear research. That's appalling. I don't know anything about her, but for me, as a person who takes Wrinkles to the vet, I'm in shock that one would say such generalized and hyperbolic statements.

First off, any animal - including humans - will attack someone of their own species, for a variety of reasons. To say, "It's a breed problem!" is so simplistic that it's absurd. If you were to kill every breed that has problems or a likelihood or not ending up as you think it should, then she would not be needed because dogs would be extinct. I can understand her shock at the dog attack, I've seen some since one of the kennels I worked at was attached to a vet ER. But I can't agree with her statements.

If we're going on personal experiences, I've only been bitten by a strange dog once at work, after dealing with hundreds previously. Including walking dog aggressive ones across a small field from other dogs, and maintaining control. One being a GSD. The dog that bit me was a cocker spaniel that had not been socialized, never lived off the boat or been boarded before (much less for the estimated 3 weeks), and had repeatedly bitten the grandkids. Along with hating his feet being touched. And we knew of this when they brought it in. The dog was put down after because of the rabies quarantined. I don't think cockers should be exterminated because of one experience. You can't hold one dog in example for an entire breed. If people don't know about the breed, or assume it's easy as pie, then it's on them to learn. I've also been around twitchy mixes that responded to me and not other people because of how I responded. It's about understanding the dog you're dealing with. Breed is certainly important, because it's the genetic code, but it's also about environment.

I just cannot condone her attitude. I've watched the hysteria over here about pit bulls, and just, no. Instead of basically giving the owners a free pass ("It wasn't my fault! It's the breed!") they should hold them responsible. The dog did not adopt itself. If the owners are unwilling to do what's necessary to ensure a safe dog for all involved (and the dog's longer life expectancy if nothing else), then it's not a bad seed element.

I looked into a greyhound eventually. I like the breed, I've worked with them (and that includes former racing ones), but it wouldn't be a good fit since Noe comes first. Owning a dog is more than wanting to say "I saved their life!" or "Oh, it's so cute!"

I could rant about ignorance allowing fear to overcome common sense, but I won't. I'll be quiet on that end. It wouldn't end well. But needless to say, she has absolutely no respect from me. Not with that attitude.

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